Date given for war-crimes trial

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The Independent Online
THE HAGUE - Richard Goldstone, Chief Prosecutor of the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal, said it would bring charges next month and expected to begin trials in March. He was speaking on return from the former Yugoslavia. The South African jurist said Croatian officials had agreed to surrender war- crimes suspects.

The tribunal has predicted that charges would be brought in November but has never before gone so far as to speak about trial dates.

No indication was given of identities or nationalities of the suspects, nor whether they were in custody in the former Yugoslavia. Judge Goldstone, appointed by the United Nations Security Council in July, also seemed positive, if non-specific, about co-operation from the Bosnian government.

But other factions have been less supportive. Serbia has refused to allow the tribunal to open an office in Belgrade - one of the main aims of Judge Goldstone's trip.

The Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, and the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, have been named by the United States as possible war criminals. Up to 200,000 people are believed to have been killed since war broke out in Bosnia in April 1992.

Although all sides are believed to have taken part in atrocities, among them mass murders and mass rapes, ethnic Serbs are thought to be responsible for most of the war crimes.

The 11-judge tribunal, which is housed in an insurance company office building, is the first international war- crimes court set up since the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War.